The Evolution of Morality and Religion

Front Cover
Cambridge University Press, 2003 M12 4 - 259 pages
Many philosophers and theologians write about morality and its origins without reference to biological processes such as evolution. In turn, biologists discuss phenomena of importance to human morality and religion without taking account of the ideas of those who think deeply about these subjects. Donald Broom argues that morality and the central components of religion are of great value, and presents two central ideas : that morality has a biological foundation and has evolved as a consequence of natural selection, and secondly, that religions are essentially structures underpinning morality.
 

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Contents

Concepts and codes of living
1
12 The complexity of brain control
4
13 Ideas about the origins of morality
10
14 Morality distinguished from sexual
14
15 Codes of conduct
16
16 Consequences of social evolution
19
17 Cooperation and morality
22
18 Morality and religions
26
45 Development of morality in the young
152
46 Morality and law
157
47 Conclusions about the evolution of morality
161
The origins and value of religion
164
52 Other aspects of religious practice
168
53 Goodness glory and paradise
173
54 The evolutionary basis of religion
176
55 The effects of new knowledge on religion
181

Cooperation altruism reciprocal altruism
30
22 Cooperative behaviour in animals
38
23 Competition aggression and war
70
24 The evolution of altruism
75
Biological capabilities needed for altruism and morality
84
33 The capacity for recognising others
87
34 Awareness and consciousness
90
35 Feelings and emotions in relation to morality
98
36 Cognitive responses to moral issues
105
37 What is needed biologically for morality?
109
Ideas about morality
115
42 Obligations rights and evaluation
127
43 Knowledge and conscience
134
44 Morality in relation to codes of sexual behaviour
140
56 Harms associated with religious practice
185
57 The value of religions and their future
189
Other views about the origins of morality and religion
194
62 The selfish gene sociobiology morality and religion
197
Social and political consequences of this biological view of morality and religion
204
72 Our views of other species
212
73 Morality and religion in other species
217
Conclusions
223
References
230
Species list
246
Author index
248
Subject index
252
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About the author (2003)

Donald M. Broom is Colleen Macleod Professor of Animal Welfare in the Department of Clinical Veterinary Medicine at the University of Cambridge.

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